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Finding light out of darkness by Dorothy Jarvis-Lee

This time of year many of us experience what’s often called “the winter blues”. It’s well recognised these days that the effects of lack of light from shorter days can have a real impact on how people feel and act. One outcome of this ‘deprivation’ is increased feelings of stress, especially the pressures we come under at work. It’s an issue none of us can afford to ignore. Of course we all find things difficult from time to time but sometimes it can seem as if we’ll never find a way to overcome some of those dark feelings. We can feel so uncomfortable and fearful that they can seem insurmountable.

My question is “What’s behind the way you’re feeling today, where’s it coming from”? In my experience, problems are rarely as straightforward as lack of sunlight or simply the amount of work we expected to get done. There is usually more to our feelings that change the way we behave and respond to the people we work and live with.

Facing these issues and finding ways to resolve the problems they create has to be a priority when we are working with vulnerable people. Those we care for and enable to live more independently quite rightly expect us to provide support without projecting the weight of our own problems onto them. But in order to do this with honesty, freshness and stability we each need to know that there is someone with whom we can talk to, ask for support and point us to where we can get help that will really change things for the better.

ubu has trained all of our managers to become ‘Wellbeing at Work Champions’. Their role is make sure that everyone has the confidence to speak up when life becomes challenging in the work we do and at home, for whatever reason. When issues are not addressed straight away we become disengaged with what we are doing, often ineffective, sad and depressed as a result. When we are able to talk about and share these feelings, everything we do becomes easier and problems feel lighter.

Our Wellbeing at Work Champions have each made a commitment to ensuring that we never ignore a call for help from anyone. With teaching and support from our Clinical Team we are pioneering more effective and sustainable ways to overcome problems. Our Champions are trained to listen effectively, to help identify what underlies problems and respond by giving signposts to the best support available.

We believe that this approach is vital to ensuring that ubu continues to grow and explore ways to enable and support people to become who they should be. By insisting on direct and full engagement with each other, we can better understand the experiences, feelings and patterns of behaviour that trigger difficulties and stress in the people we work with and our fellow team members.

Once we start taking a more honest look at what makes us sensitive to anxiety, depression and stress we can open the door to letting in the light. It soon becomes so much easier to dispel the darkness of isolation and fear and work together to find sustainable solutions so that we can all experience the freedom to be and do the best we can.

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